MidrESHET Hayil

Friday, April 6, 2012

Parashat Shemini-Don't Abide by the Outside; Dig inside the Pig

Parashat Shemini

Don't Abide by the Outside; Dig inside the Pig

4. But these you shall not eat among those that bring up the cud and those that have a cloven hoof….

ד. אַךְ אֶת זֶה לֹא תֹאכְלוּ מִמַּעֲלֵי הַגֵּרָה וּמִמַּפְרִיסֵי הַפַּרְסָה אֶת הַגָּמָל כִּי מַעֲלֵה גֵרָה הוּא וּפַרְסָה אֵינֶנּוּ מַפְרִיס טָמֵא הוּא לָכֶם:
7. And the pig, because it has a cloven hoof that is completely split, but will not regurgitate its cud; it is unclean for you.

ז. וְאֶת הַחֲזִיר כִּי מַפְרִיס פַּרְסָה הוּא וְשֹׁסַע שֶׁסַע פַּרְסָה וְהוּא גֵּרָה לֹא יִגָּר טָמֵא הוּא לָכֶם:

As they stood all lined up, a German gestapo would summon a Jew, offer him a piece of pig and tell him to eat it, otherwise he will be shot. The Jew refuses to put the piece of meat in his mouth and is therefore killed al Kiddush HaShem. Many people, put in such a pressing situation, Rahmana Lisslan, whether or not they are frum, secular, conservative, modern orthodox, or reform, all know that a Jew is not supposed to eat pig and are willing to give up their lives in order not to eat it. But just one piece of meat, just one bite! Save your life while you still can! But well all know very well that eating pig is absolutely assur.

Why is eating pig the most vile of all non-kosher animals?

We all know, for an animal to be kosher, it must have both split hooves and chew its cud. The Torah HaKedosha tells us that in the entire world, there are only four animals who will display one of the two signs and are therefore still forbidden for us to eat. These animals are the camel, the hare, the jackrabbit and the pig. The first three, the camel, the hare and the jackrabbit all chew their cud but do not have split hooves. The only animal in the world that does not chew its cud but has split hooves is the pig. Look it up.

What characteristic then does the pig exemplify?

The way a pig sits, he lays down and sprawls his repulsive feet out in front of him for all who pass by. When people look at him they say, ‘Hey, look! Split hooves, he’s Kasher!’. And maybe from the outside he shows that he’s pure and kosher, but we all know on the inside, he’s lacking. He might have split hooves, but he does not chew his cud.

The pig shows to others what he is not. On the outside maybe he looks frum, but inside, he’s a faker.

How many times do we do a missvah for our own personal honor and status? How many times do we give large sums of sedaka in public gatherings, but when a beggar asks on a private street corner, we turn the other way? How many times do we do extra hessed when our friends are watching, but when we are home with our families, we are reluctant to give a helping hand? How many times do we offer to give a Devar Torah when prominent community members are sitting around the table, but when a young student asks us a question, we do it with haste and aggravation? How many times do we daven extra hard in shul when the cute boy with the black hat walks by?

Don’t be a faker.

Be kosher; make sure your insides match your outsides. Just because somebody has a kippah and sissit on, does not mean that their insides match what they are trying to portray. A long skirt to the ground and a covered neckline might be hiding more than you think.

It is very important not to use the Torah as a status symbol. In the introduction to Hovot HaLevavot, Rav Bahya ibn Paquda warns us not to make the Torah a keter, crown, for ourselves. Don’t use it the wrong way; do things leShem Shamayim, for the sake of Torah, for HaKadosh Barukh Hu, and not your own personal agenda. Torah belongs inside the heart, that’s where it matters most. If it’s placed on top of your head like a crown, the only person that can’t see it is you; it just becomes a display for others to see. What is the use then?

Be’ezrat HaShem, may we all develop the ability to keep our insides consistent with our outsides and vice versa. May everything we do be leShem Shamayim and may we always bring nahat to our Creator. May we be among His kosher creations and not anything less!

Hag Pesah Kasher ve’Sameah and Shabbat Shalom u’Mevorakh!

Ariella Samimi

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